Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beaded Links... Jewelry Making
Tammy got the 411 on some very cool new metal stamps. Though these can also be used with clay as well.

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene begins a new monthly feature - the ABS Carnival Blog! Let the Carnival begin!

Beading Arts
Do you want to try lampworking? Cyndi's been busy at the torch again.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy takes a bead shopping trip to the Great White North and almost passes out!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie unleashes her grumpy feelings with a little rant and a bead sale!

Jean Campbell
A mystery package is the catalyst for this creative challenge. Up for it? You could win a free book!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares his feelings about the awesome new Spring issue of "Stringing" magazine.

I Won...

The KGI Worldwide Contest winners were just announced and I am pleased to say that I won Fourth Place! I feel so honored to be recognized amongst so many other talented designers. But this couldn't have happened without the support of those who came out to the Tucson Bead Show and voted for my piece. 50% of the judging was done by popular vote and I truly feel that this is what allowed my Crystal Caterpillar bracelet to place. Thank you so much for believing in my designs and for supporting my work yet again! THANK YOU!

Oh! If I'm allowed, I'm going to pass along my good fortune and have my own mini-contest on my blog. The winner will receive my prize: a one year subscription to Beadwork magazine. (I'll know soon if I can transfer my prize.)

New Shop Items...

I've just uploaded some of my finds from Tucson in my shop. I even added two new sections to the shop reflecting some of the goodies I found. It'll take me some time to get everything listed, but I wanted to share some of these great things!

After talking with Bob Burkett before we headed off to Tucson this year, I was afraid that he wouldn't be able to make it. Luckily he was able to come and he brought LOTS of cool new things. One of my favorites (which I happily snapped up as many as he would let me) were these CUTE tiny shibuichi skull beads. They are smaller than a dime and are just adorable. These would be perfect in earrings or on a charm bracelet. I added these to the NEW Bob Burkett Bead section and the Skull Shop.

Back when I started the shop, I had a small selection of work from Ashes to Beauty. For years they were our neighbors at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee, but lately they haven't been there and it has been increasingly more difficult to track down their work. Luckily I ran into them in Tucson and found some really awesome pieces. I was really charmed by their line of hand-shaped components like the bronze one pictured above. Doesn't it remind you of a cross between a milagro, a Victorian motif, and a French door-knocker? I featured it, along with several others, it the newly resurrected Ashes to Beauty components section.

I'll be adding more to the shop soon, but you better get ahold of these goodies before I'm all out!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Care Package...

The delightful Kelly Angeley and her husband sent along an amazing care package! I am utterly flabbergasted with their generosity and for helping lift my spirits. While we were in Tucson, I gave Kelly one of my artist trading cards. Making those particular cards was important for me. I was feeling creatively stifled and was daunted with deadlines galore. I got an ache to make some cards and dropped everything in favor of working on the cards. What resulted was a clearer frame of mind and a more fluid sense of creativity. Sharing these cards was also important for me. I wanted to give back the gift the universe gave me.

I feel quite lucky indeed and ideas are brewing in my head. So a big THANK YOU to Kelly and Barry!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stringing Magazine: Spring 2010...

You should definitely check out the latest issue of Stringing magazine from Interweave Press. It's full of beautiful and interesting designs. I'm not just saying that because my "Garden of Earthly Delights" bracelet made it on the cover (featured in the Clay in Bloom department), or that one of my necklaces was spotlighted in Michelle Mach's Take Two! article, or that I've got a necklace design called Spring Awakening and another bracelet and some earring designs in there either! It's a great magazine.

Now, there is a bit of controversy surrounding this issue. One of the projects in the magazine features knock offs of our work by Forever Silvers. It's horrifying! But you should know that I don't hold Stringing magazine responsible. The editors really can't be expected to know the complete lines of every one of the bead component makers in the industry and I imagine that they take the word of the designers concerning where the components were purchased. However, if you like the pieces featured in project, buy the pieces from the original source and not from the Thief. (The pieces in question were fashioned after our bronze bird coin and our safe angel pendant.) Now, so that it's completely clear, I want all of you to know that I DO NOT hold a grudge towards Stringing magazine and neither should you. I do think that it's important that every bead magazine be aware that Forever Silvers is unethical and steals original designs. The editors of the Interweave publications have been made abreast of the situation and I'm confident will not continue to support companies that are maliciously targeting small family companies and their hard work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sad News...

My first art teacher, Mrs. Dillard, passed away. She had Cynthia and Sheila in her classes as well. Some of the things she taught me will always be with me. Above is her Senior Class picture and a painting that she did of her grandmother's pansies.

Linda Dillard

Linda Kay Haas Dillard, 69, a 40-year resident of Maitland, Fla., and formerly of Annapolis, died at home in Oviedo, Fla., after a six-month illness.

Mrs. Dillard was born on April 3, 1938, in Belmont, Ohio. She was reared in Annapolis, graduating in 1956 from Annapolis High School. She earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in art education from the University of Central Florida and was an art teacher at Eastbrook Elementary School in Winter Park, Fla., for 24 years.

Survivors include one son, David Dillard of Oviedo; her father, Charles B. Haas of St. Michaels; two brothers, Charles H. Haas of Federalsburg and Michael Haas of Taneytown; and one sister, Martha Haas, of Deland, Fla. She was married in 1956 to Edward Dillard who died in 1981.

A Nice Surprise...

Look what came in the mail today? These lovely lampwork beads are by the talented Sharon Driscoll of Right Turn Art Werks. Aren't they lovely!?! It was so thoughtful of her to put them in the post for me. It did a lot to lift my spirits. I can't wait to work with them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Are there color combinations that are always in style? Black and white seems to fit that description. Jewelry Making
Tammy reminds you about a thriving jewelry community and how to keep up with news on her site.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene teams up with Margie Deeb for a color challenge.

Beading Arts
Cyndi's new bead embroidered necklace has everything but a name!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi restrings a strand of cheap plastic beads with a wristlet. Repurposing is great!

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Inspired by the color of summer gardens in a seed catalog, Cindy creates a new bead.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Celebrate the many uses of Ice Resin with Melanie's blog latest blog series which highlights some of her newest works

Jean Campbell
Jean reviews Margie Deeb's (pretty fabulous) Spring/Summer 2010 Color Report.

Jewelry & Beading
Have you heard of Zulugrass? Find out about the wonderful industry that's helping to support the Maasai, and enter to win a piece!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is still a little nervous to try her hand at using resin. But the pendant in this necklace turned out nice at any rate.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is embroiled in a conundrum--help a girl out!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Working with Jill MacKay's new line of decorative bezels, Andrew experiments with resin and takes advantage of the bezels' deep walls.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Firstly, I want to thank each of you who commented on my last post or wrote me personally. Your support and encouragement is astounding and simply beautiful. THANK YOU! Each of you has done much to lift me up.

I would have written earlier, but I've been really sick. When the spirit is "sick", I imagine the body is not far behind. Cynthia was even going to don some rubber gloves and pry me up out of bed and head to the hospital if I didn't improve. I guess the fear of an expensive hospital bill put my body on the mend.

As far as The Incident is concerned, it still stings. It's a much more complicated matter than it appears to be. For various reasons, I'm not going to name names or point fingers. My hope is that The Culprit reads these words and knows what they did was wrong. Consider this a warning to those who wish to steal. This is not acceptable and if the exploitation continues in any form, it will not be tolerated.

Speaking of thieves, my family's company is being ripped off again, by a company called, Forever Silvers. One of the designs they've stolen even has my fingerprints on the back of it. I was shocked to see it in the latest issue of Stringing magazine. As you can tell from my participation in the magazine (even having one of my pieces on the cover of it), I love the magazine, but was horrified to see them list this evil-doer as a resource. Please boycott Forever Silvers and let the editors of all the beading magazines know that you support artist made original designs and reject knock offs. It is important to bring this to their attention.

I wish that my decision to "stay" would be more poetic or profound, but really it's just a thing that I'm going to have to take day by day. Whether or not content is edited, obscured, or omitted completely has yet to be seen. I want to continue to be genuine and authentic here, hopefully inspiring others and definitely creating community. Thanks again to all of you out in the blogosphere who continue to read and have encouraged me to continue chronicling my everyday inspirations and aspirations.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stay or Leave...

I was emailed recently by a concerned blog reader that they saw one of my jewelry designs being reproduced without any credit being given to me or my original work which was clearly being copied. I have conflicting feelings about this. As someone who writes and creates designs for books and publications for people to follow, there is an undoubted chance that your work will be recreated. This is okay. I'm being paid and I'm putting my work into a forum designed for this. However, in this particular case, the piece was not featured anywhere else but my blog. This, in itself, was not so bad, but when I was later contacted by an editor of one of the publications that I was hoping to write for, that they couldn't accept my piece because they already had something similar... well... that's when my stomach soured.

So... here's a tough question: Do I continue to post about my jewelry designs?

When I started this blog, years ago, I wanted to be as transparent as possible. This has been painful, because I'm really a very private person. I'm not naturally someone who likes to be in the spotlight. I prefer to work from the wings and give support where I can. Through the years, I've strived to show a real portrait of a working artist... the ups, the downs, the inspiration and aspiration that fuels my work. I spend a lot of time creating a blog that I think is worthy of reading. But what do I do when this sharing starts to work against me, compromising my livelihood?

Do I edit my posts more? Do I selectively chose what best suits a structured and pre-planned agenda? This seems less authentic to me. The most direct answer would be to step away from the blog completely. If I can't really express myself without worrying, then what's the point?

Basically: Should I stay or should I leave?

A Brief Reprieve...

I looked at a calendar and I realized that I've been absent from my home for almost a month now. It doesn't feel like it. Time just got swallowed up one day. Tucson seems like a dream now, distant and removed.

I took a day for myself with my family. It was a big deal for me, since I don't generally like to "leave the island" once I'm settled in. The cold weather prevents me from doing a lot. The idea of leaving the house when there's ice and snow on the ground is preposterous. Still, we ventured forth. One of our destinations was The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. This did much to balm my soul. Sipping liquid truffles and nibbling on chocolate was a nice distraction. Afterwards we went to the Moose Cafe and gorged ourselves on good Southern cooking until we felt sick. Leaving the house was a vacation from my thoughts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Little Mountains...

It's been days since we've arrived back in Asheville. I've been finding it hard to get back into my regular routines. It doesn't help that one of those days was migraine plagued. Seems like all I want to do is sleep. I know that there are tasks to be done – articles to write, contracts to sign, projects to design, new goodies from Tucson to post... but I'm just not feeling it.

I have been enjoying my time with my family. It is good to spend time with the kids. Azalea tells me stories while I rock "Baby Brother". He likes motion and lots of movement. I think about how lucky Max and Azalea are to have each other. No doubt, they'll have their ups and downs like all siblings, but I have a feeling that they'll have a good relationship.

Maybe I'm just burnt out and need a little time to recover after such an intense trip. Or maybe I just need to drink some extra coffee and move these little mountains. I don't know... but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Need a quick gift or new piece of jewelry for work tomorrow? You can't miss with black Econoflex Softflex wire! Jewelry Making
Ever thought of applying for a jewelry making grant? If so, here is news about how to do so as well as some important tips to follow.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene Unveils the February Monthly Challenge - Luna Park by Vestie Davis.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Avoiding work by showing off some new jewelry pieces and other eye candy

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi attempts to explain how one necklace turns into two.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
An addition to the Grunge Bead Series - Grunge Faux Bois!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off the necklace she made for the Bead Soup Party: a delicious blend of stone, pearls, glass, ceramic, and brass ingredients.

Jean Campbell
Jean did a little product scouting in Tucson...check out her favorite finds!

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi has a great giveaway going on: TWO gift certificates for Murano glass jewelry!!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
The connection you can have with a customer, is a treasure. Collaborating on a necklace, Lorelei and JoAnn create a wonderful keepsake.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Book review by jean: feel like learning new techniques? Try this new text with fab photos!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Using components from, Andrew creates a Valentine's Day worthy necklace named, "Not Without".

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rushing By...

I'm back in Asheville now. Being in Tucson seems like it happened so long ago, even though it was only days ago that I stood there in the desert. I feel slightly hung over from the experience. Too much fun, too many good people, too much warm weather and bright skies. Leaving created a vacant spot in my heart. I know it'll fill right back up when I return to my routines, but it's still there now... that empty place, missing the desert.

The drive back, Greg and I decided not to stop and to push through all night and drive straight on. We took shifts driving. It was a solitary experience, going back. I was deep in thought the entire time. I wonder if it wasn't in part because it was my brother's birthday. I called my parents while Greg was driving, as I do every year on my brother's birthday. We didn't talk about Dwayne. We rarely do these days. We talk about the weather, about Max and Azalea, and about my big plans. We don't talk about my brother, but I know we're all thinking about him. Who has he become? Would he recognize me? Would he know me if he saw me, or would I know him? I sometimes find old pictures of my brother from when he was young and sometimes I'll confuse them for pictures of myself, but then remember that when he left, they stopped taking pictures of me. There are years without pictures – only faded memories remain.

I wonder sometime if that's why I've set about chronicling my life, taking pictures, writing words and sharing my experiences with others. Perhaps I can capture a little bit of that sunset, or let those I love live on.

Speaking of friends and people I love, the delightful Ute Bernsen of Silk Painting is Fun dropped by the booth to say hello. It's always good to see her. She's got such a comforting vibe and I love her German accent. Not to mention, they carry a beautiful selection of hand-dyed silk.

Look who stopped by? Pam and Heather Wynn! I was so happy that they could make it out. I was a little bummed that they weren't down the aisle this year and that I might not get a chance to see them at all. We did offer some of their beautiful goods on our table, but it's not quite the same. So it was extra exciting when they dropped by. (I am envious that they got to go shopping instead of having to work the show.)

Look who else dropped by? Jason and Jamie of the Bead Gallery all the way from Hawaii! It was a real treat seeing them. They are some of the nicest people that I know and always brighten the room they're in. Luckily I'll probably see them soon at the Soft Flex Spring Show in Hawaii.

One of my favorite Swarovski Crystal dealers, K. Gottfried, was at the show. I dropped by quickly to vote for my Crystal Caterpillar piece (which is a semi-finalist in their World Wide Design Competition) and say hello to Mayda and pick up some lovely new crystals. Above is a shot of Mayda at her booth, my bracelet in the center, and of Mayda next to competition table. (They were so nice! They gave me their succulents from their display since I was driving back. I will happily add them to my growing collection.)

The snow prevented Jill MacKay from going home, but allowed me to see her again and talk about her new line from Darice Inc. Guess who also came by? Candice Wakumoto and her husband Paul. Candice found some great skulls for my skull shop while she was out and about shopping the shows, AND she dropped off the metal clay focal pieces that will be featured in my shop! Keep an eye out for these masterpieces!

Always hamming it up for the camera, Christi Friesen posed for the camera! She's so funny! I love her energy and excitement. She's just launched an awesome line of polymer clay tools and came out with a fantastic book called, Steampunkery: Polymer Clay and Mixed Media Projects.

Beth from Echo Artworks was set up across the way. She had a great selection of vintage, natural and unusual components and supplies. I am remiss that I didn't get the opportunity to dig more through her array of finds.

On the last day of the show, before we left, I was afforded the day to run around and do some errands and shop a little. It was great to get a taste of Tucson during the Gem Show. I am normally too busy working the table to get out and shop. I will have to make a point of going out there one day with several days to pursue the vast selections of things to see. I did get to drop by the Whole Lotta Whimsy headquarters and pick up an order and quickly dash through Grant Inn (seeing some of my all-time favorite vendors). My time in Tucson flew by, rushing past. Soon though, I'll be there again, wondering how it felt like I was just there.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Day of Work, Night of Party...

Here are some snapshots from Tucson at the Best Bead Show and the Swarovski Party.

Each year, I look forward to seeing our neighbor across the way at The Best Bead Show, Terri Caspary Schmidt. Not only does she make some of the most stunning and subtle lampwork glass beads, but she also is such a calm and relaxing person to be around. I can rest assured that if I look up and across at any point, I'll be greeted with a warm smile.

You know, I don't really feature that many of the Green Girl Studios customers on the blog. That's a shame, because they are really why I love doing the shows. It is always nice to see a familiar face and see what people have been up to. One of my favorite Tucson friends is, Ellie Roy of Argenta Bead Company in Little Rock, Arkansas. I could talk to her for hours, listening to her sweet Southern accent. She reminds me of all the good things about the Ozarks.

Speaking of lovely customers who I've known for years, Heidi Woody of The Beaded Frog in South Carolina is always a joy to see. This year, she brought along her store manager, Stella. Apparently Stella is half Filipino as well and we joked about how we're probably distant, long-lost cousins.

Another friendly face that I look forward to seeing each year is Bernadette Fuentes. She makes lovely lampwork glass beads, as well as some awesome olive oil soap! Don't forget to check out her work on FusionBeads also!

Above is a picture of Bob Burkett and Anne Mitchell. I am glad that Bob made it out to the show. We were all worried that he wouldn't be able to make it out to Tucson this year. I picked up some really great skulls from him for the Skull Shop. It was also nice to see Anne Mitchell, who was awarded the 2009 Excellence in Bead Artistry Award by Bead & Button.

One of the things that I always look forward to when we go out to Tucson is the Swarovski party. We've been going for several years now and it is definitely a highlight of the trip. I was afraid that we weren't going to be able to go this year, but luckily, my good friends at Fusion Beads put us on the list even though they couldn't attend themselves! Thank you, Fusion Beads!

Above is a picture of Joanna Feller and Pamela Hawkins of Bead Unique magazine. This is the first time that I've met Joanna, but was privileged to meet Pamela years ago at the Big Apple glass Art and Bead Festival put on by Soft Flex Company.

Danielle Fox, Melinda Barta, and Marlene Blessing of Interweave Press pose for a picture. I call them "The Blondes" for obvious reasons. They are all fabulously talented, intelligent, motivated and completely darling and totally defy any hair-color stereotypes.

Lovely ladies of advertising, Karen and Debbi Simon (author of Crystal Chic: Custom Jewelry with Dazzling Details) pose for a picture.

Brenda Schweder, recent author of Vintage Redux: Remake Classic and Collectible Jewelry just announced that her next book tentatively titled, "Iron Wire Jewelry" from Lark Books will come out in the Fall.
I got to spend a lot of time getting to know fellow housemate, Jeannette Cook of Beady Eyed Women, and we had a delightful time talking and dancing.

Kay from Star's Claps looked lovely as always, dressed all in white and sporting a lovely piece of bling.

Ask Sara and Jamie Hogsett pose in front of this season's new Swarovski crystal shapes. I love the new lotus (looks more like a sand dollar to me) and the new Artemis cone shape.

I've never met Katie from E. H. Ashely before, who was sporting a bedazzled leather jacket, but any friend of the regal Marcia DeCoster is fine by me!

Having a good time, Lisa Niven Kelly and Kriss Silva of Beaducation pose with Mike of PepeTools.

The picture is a little dark, but the lovely ladies featured are still stunning – Paula Radke of dichroic lampwork fame and Jill MacKay. Jill just debuted an awesome and innovative line of chipboard jewelry components.

It was nice to see Molly Schaller, former editor of Simply Beads magazine, at the party. We first met at a Swarovski event a couple of years ago. So it was like completing the circle that we should see each other again at another Swarovski event. I was trying to convince Molly that Twitter was a good thing. Let's see if she'll take the bait and get an account!

I can't begin to describe how much I enjoy the company of Jean Campbell! She's a peach!

Leslie Rogalski hams it up for the camera. We were all talking about who played Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter). Leslie just happened to be sporting a great beaded cuff and did us the honor of doing her Wonder Woman pose.

I really love this photo. I think it captures the feeling of the Swarovski event perfectly. Anna of Kalbach is featured in a blur of dancing bodies.

All of these lovely ladies are masters of bling: Jeannette Cook, Val of Creations by You, Kristal Wick, and Jean Campbell.

"Dance! Dance! Dance!"

Friday, February 05, 2010

Postcards from the Show...

There is something thrilling about the buzz of a show. I think that there is something very primal about the exchange of beads. The practice goes back as the earliest marker of civilization – before written language, before ceramic pots... before almost anything. Body adornment transcends all cultures. Here, in this place, it feels right. Set against a backdrop of mountains both ancient and new, atop a land drawn up from the sands... it just feels right.

I am constantly being impressed by the work I've seen, both from the vendors and the customers alike. This is truly a convergence of creative energies. I love this. I love meeting all the new people and talking with them, if only for a moment. I am always surprised to hear it, but very appreciative when I do, when someone says that they've stopped by this little corner in the great big world wide web and have spent time with my pictures, my words and my art.
For now... I'll leave you with pictures from the show and from our party. I'll update the captions as time permits, but wanted to share this, my world, with you.

Jill MacKay

Joyce Rooks

Marcy and Eleanor of Ellie Mac

"Kalbach Corner"

Author Emma Bull.

Regal, Marcia DeCoster.

Melinda Barta with Ask Sara.

Jean Campbell skewering shrimp. (I think I've made it a goal to rope at least one bead celebrity into doing something unusual as far as food prep goes for our parties since we first started these annual get-togethers. One year I got Sherri Haab to fill lemon curd filo shells.)

Deb and Melissa of Chevron.

Ask Sara, Andrew Brown, and Jamie Hogsett with Bryan Kitson.

Patti, Sydney, and Joyce Rooks.